BOOK: the hundred-year house
AUTHOR: Rebbecca Makkai
WALK DATE: 12/09/2015
Thank you to all those that joined us for last Saturday's Walking Book Club. The morning's heavy rain showers deterred a few but those that still dared to venture out were rewarded with what the month of September does best - glorious mellow sunshine.
We headed to the 'den' to sit and talk as Christopher and I had been to the hill fort earlier in the week to arrange mossy logs so that more people may sit in comfort in preparation of our book launch with Jackie Morris on the 4th October - we surprisingly disturbed a very fine toad in the process!
The Hundred-Year House received a mixed and confused reaction from the group leaving me a little bewildered to their true reaction. Some readers found the plot confusing, with too many characters and missed key points that were later revealed within a different time period of the house's history often by different, seemingly unconnected characters. Others loved how these clues and snippets of information had been cleverly layered throughout the text and one is even tempted to revisit and see what other fragments may have been unwittingly missed.
Personally I loved it once I had got past its 'Americanism' during the first section set during 1999 and preferred reading about the house's earlier history. Once an art colony I adored the array of characters that frequented its rooms and studios - the creative clues and connections, the deceptions and smoke screens - some farcical others quite dangerous and serious games. My enjoyment while reading was mirrored by watching Life In Squares which focused on the Bloomsbury Group with particular reference to the relationship of David 'Bunny' Garnett and Angelica Bell, and I wondered if Rebecca Makkai had drawn inspiration from this the most famous group of bohemian artists.
The group as a whole would not recommend The Hundred-Year House or would consider more carefully which of their friends to whom they would suggest read it. I am quite surprised how much I enjoyed it and loved escaping to the garden to read and find myself agreeing with the back page critic's quote: 'Part literary mystery, part comedy of manners, part wickedly funny satire...it's remarkable'
What did you think Fable?!